Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Feel My Savior's Love

Some of you may know what recently happened in our lives.  It was an experience, like many others we have had, that has changed us.  On Monday December 17th we got the email we had been hoping and waiting to get for 17 months.  An expectant mother had written to us.  She had been considering adoption for her unborn child for months.  She had seen many profiles of couples hoping to adopt and we were the ones she kept coming back to.  She and the expectant father wanted to have an open adoption.  They wanted to be involved in their childs life, but they felt they could not provide the life she needed and deserved.  This is why they had come to choose adoption.  The next day we went to dinner with G, the expectant mother, T, the expectant father, and G's two-year-old daughter R.  We ate and talked for almost two hours.  Mark and I both felt a great connection to them.  They lived about 15 minutes from our home.  Their living situation was bad for several reasons, and they felt they could not care for the child G was carrying.  None of their friends or family knew that she was pregnant.  She had not received any prenatal care, and she had delivered R 5 weeks early by c-section, due to pre-eclamsia.  Getting her in to see a doctor was one of our primary concerns. 

Over the next 5 weeks we spent a great deal of time with G and T getting to know them, helping them find a new place to live, and trying to get medical care.  I won't go into all of the details; they aren't really important.  I'll just say that I did much of what an adoption case worker would normally do.  I was happy to do this.  I wanted to have a close relationship with G and T, as did Mark.  We had them in our home.  We did everything we could to prepare, so the adoption plan that they had made for their child would be successful. 

On Wednesday January 23rd, we were finally able to get G in to see a doctor.  Before they did an exam, they sent her up to have an ultrasound done.  I was with her at the appointment including the ultrasound.  G and T worked together, and because no one knew that she was pregnant, it was important that T go to work as normal.  There wasn't anyone else to be with G, so she had asked me to be with her at the appointment and at the delivery if T was not able.  As the ultrasound was being done they were able to see that it was a girl.  I was so excited.  They also found that there was not enough amniotic fluid around the baby and that she was measuring too small.

We were sent over to the labor and delivery wing of the hospital and G was admitted.  We were a little unclear as to what was going on, because a doctor didn't come in to talk to us for a couple hours.  When the doctor finally came in, she explained what the problem was and that the baby needed to be born.  G choose to have another c-section and we were each prepared.  I was there as that precious, tiny baby girl was brought into this world.  I stayed right with G, holding her hand and telling her what a great job she was doing. 

That night I came in and fed the baby every few hours.  I sat with her and talked to her as G and T slept.  Over the next few days I spent almost all of my time at the hospital.  Mark would go home each night to take care of our two boys as well as R, G's daughter, who was staying with us while she was in the hospital.  Our amazing friends and family took care of the three kids, while we spent time with G and T and the baby.  Again, I won't go into all of the details, but over those three days it became increasingly difficult for G.  By Saturday morning it was evident that she was doubting the plan she had made to place her baby with our family.  T, up to that point had insisted that he was still sure that they should place.  However, on Saturday, he called his mother, who had not been told and had not prepared her heart for adoption.  She and his brother came from Kentucky to Columbus, and in the end they convinced G and T not to follow through on the adoption plan they had made.

Needless to say, we were very saddened by this turn of events.  We spent all day Saturday praying to our Father in Heaven that they would be able to remember why they had chosen adoption and that they would choose to follow through with that plan.  We were joined by so many family and friends in prayer.  Still, we knew that Heavenly Father will not take away a person's agency.  They had the right to choose.  We went home that night deeply saddened, but also anxious to see our two beautiful sons.

Before our oldest was born, we experienced another failed adoption plan.  That experience was devestating for us.  We wanted so badly to be parents, and I'm ashamed to admit, our faith in our Heavenly Father was not very strong.  I was so grateful this time to be able to go home to my wonderful children.  They bring me so much joy and help me each day to be able to see Heavenly Father's love for me and his hand in my life.  This experience has still been very difficult, and not just for us.  Because everything took place so close to home, many of our family and friends were much more involved.  They met G and T.  They helped to care for R.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law even got to see the baby.  They each had feelings of sadness and even anger of their own. 

I think many people look at what has happened and think, "I wouldn't blame them for being very angry".  Thankfully, that is not what I have been able to focus on.  We are sad.  We wish that they had made the choice to place that amazing baby girl with our family.  I think about her a lot.  I wonder how she is, if she is growing, if she is safe, if she is warm.  I wonder if she will ever know how many people have already loved her in her short life.  I know, though, that we have a Father in Heaven who loves each one of us.  He loves me, and will direct my life for good, if I let him.  He loves that baby and he loves G and T.  I feel my Savior's love for me each day.  I have definately felt that Heavenly Father is happy with the way I have handled this disappointment.  He is pleased with the service we provided for them, and he is happy that I have chosen to not be angry, because it is a choice I have conciously made.  I have the benefit of having seen, first hand, how anger and frustration can turn to joy and love when the atonement is applied in my life.  I have seen Heavenly Father work miracles and I know I will continue to see that in the future.  They are not always the miracles I might hope for, but they are always what I need.

I know many of our friends and family have wondered what they could do for us.  They want to help, but they aren't sure what to say.  They don't want to over step and make us feel worse.  They want to let us grieve.  I want to tell you that your prayers for us mean more than you will ever know.  We have felt your love and we are so grateful.  We need each of you in our lives.  I, personally, feel better as I move forward.  I feel better when my friends let me talk when I want to, and be silent when I can't.  I have been so grateful to my friends who have treated me as they always have, and who have invited me even when they knew I might not want to go.  I don't want to be avoided.

There are definitly things we might do differently in the future.  In so many ways, this was a new experience for us, despite having been through three adoptions prior.  I won't go into all we will do differently, but I will say what we will do the same.  We will still open our hearts.  We will still invite the expectant parents into our lives.  We will still work toward open adoption.  We have seen the amazing blessings that come from having birth families in our lives, and we would not choose differently when it comes to this.  We love our children's birth families and the possibility for pain is worth the joy when an open adoption plan succeeds.